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Famitsu - Issue 1.jpg
Cover art for the first issue of Famitsū magazine (then known as Famicom Tsūshin), June 1986. The Atari 2600 controller and the Family Computer controller can be seen on the cover.
Categories Video game
FrequencyWeekly / Monthly
FormatPaper and online magazine
Circulation 500,000 (Shūkan)
120,000 (Entamikusu)
80,000 (Connect! On)
40,000 (DS+Wii) [1]
Publisher ASCII (1986–2000)
Enterbrain (2000–2013)
Kadokawa (2013–2017)
Gzbrain (2017–)
First issueJune 1986;33 years ago (1986-06) (as Famicom Tsūshin)
Country Japan
Language Japanese
Website www.famitsu.com

Famitsu, [lower-alpha 1] formerly Famicom Tsūshin, is a line of Japanese video game magazines published by Gzbrain, a subsidiary of Kadokawa. Famitsu is published in both weekly and monthly formats as well as in the form of special topical issues devoted to only one console, video game company, or other theme. Shūkan Famitsū, [lower-alpha 2] the original Famitsū publication, is considered the most widely read and respected video game news magazine in Japan. [2] [3] [4] From October 28, 2011 the company began releasing the digital version of the magazine exclusively on BookWalker weekly. [5]

Video game journalism is a branch of journalism concerned with the reporting and discussion of video games, typically based on a core "reveal–preview–review" cycle. There has been recent growth in online publications and blogs.


The name Famitsū is a portmanteau abbreviation of Famicom Tsūshin; [lower-alpha 3] the word "Famicom" itself comes from a portmanteau abbreviation of "Family Computer" (the Japanese name for the Nintendo Entertainment System)—the dominant video game console in Japan during the 1980s.

Nintendo Entertainment System 8-bit third-generation home video game console developed and released by Nintendo in 1985

The Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) is an 8-bit third-generation home video game console produced, released and marketed by Nintendo. It is a remodeled export version of the company's Family Computer (FC) platform in Japan, commonly known as the Famicom, which was launched on July 15, 1983. The NES was launched in the test markets of New York City and Los Angeles in 1985, with a full launch in the rest of North America and parts of Europe in 1986, followed by Australia and other European countries in 1987. Brazil saw only unlicensed clones until the official local release in 1993. In South Korea, it was packaged as the Hyundai Comboy and distributed by Hyundai Electronics which is now SK Hynix; the Comboy was released in 1989.

A video game console is a computer device that outputs a video signal or visual image to display a video game that one or more people can play.


Login ( ログイン ), a computer game magazine, started in 1982 as an extra issue of ASCII , and later it became a periodic magazine. Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 4] was a column in Login, focused on the Famicom platform, and ran from March 1985 to December 1986 issue. It received a good reception, so the publisher decided to found the magazine specialized for it. [6] [7]

<i>ASCII</i> (magazine) japanese personal computer magazine

ASCII (アスキー) was a monthly released microcomputer magazine in Japan, published by ASCII Corporation from 1977. It targeted for business users who used a personal computer in their home and office, but it sometimes introduced computer games and computer musics. It was also known as the Monthly ASCII (月刊アスキー) written along with the title from Vol. 2 No. 4, and distinguish with the Weekly ASCII (週刊アスキー) founded in 1997. The ASCII was rebranded as the Business ASCII (ビジネスアスキー) in 2008, and ceased in 2010. Its news website and the Weekly ASCII are continuing as in 2016.

The first issue of Famitsū was published on June 6, 1986 as Famicom Tsūshin. [8] It sold less than 200,000 copies, despite 700,000 copies printed. The major competitor was Family Computer Magazine launched in July 1985 by Tokuma Shoten. Famitsū's editor found many readers had multiple game consoles, and they thought it would be better if the magazine covered various platforms. Increasing contents and the page count gradually, the magazine was published three times per month instead of semimonthly publication. On July 19, 1991 (issue #136) the magazine was renamed to Shūkan Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 5] and issues were published weekly thereafter. Alongside the weekly magazine, a monthly version called Gekkan Famicom Tsūshin [lower-alpha 6] was also published.

Tokuma Shoten

Tokuma Shoten Publishing Co., Ltd. is a publisher in Japan, headquartered in Shinagawa, Tokyo. The company was established in 1954 by Yasuyoshi Tokuma in Minato, Tokyo. The company’s product portfolio includes music publishing, video game publishing, movies, anime, magazines, manga and books.

Hirokazu Hamamura, an editor-in-chief (1992-2002), felt the beginning of a new era when he saw a private demonstration of Final Fantasy VII in 1993. He thought the name Famicom Tsūshin should be refurbished. At the start of 1996 (with issue #369) the magazines underwent another name change, truncating their titles to Shūkan Famitsū [lower-alpha 7] and Gekkan Famitsū. [lower-alpha 8] The name Famitsū had already been in common use. [7]

Hirokazu Hamamura, former Weekly Famitsu chief editor, now is president of Enterbrain. He is also the director of Kadokawa Group Holdings, Kadokawa Group Publishing, Kadokawa Games and Walker Books. His pen name is Hamamura Tsūshin (浜村通信).

<i>Final Fantasy VII</i> 1997 video game

Final Fantasy VII is a 1997 role-playing video game developed by Square for the PlayStation console. It is the seventh main installment in the Final Fantasy series. Published in Japan by Square, it was released in other regions by Sony Computer Entertainment and became the first in the main series to see a PAL release. The game's story follows Cloud Strife, a mercenary who joins an eco-terrorist organization to stop a world-controlling megacorporation from using the planet's life essence as an energy source. Events send Cloud and his allies in pursuit of Sephiroth, a superhuman intent on destroying their planet. During the journey, Cloud builds close friendships with his party members, including Aerith Gainsborough, who holds the secret to saving their world.

The magazine was published by ASCII from its founding through March 2000 when it was sold to Enterbrain.

Enterbrain Japanese publisher

Enterbrain (エンターブレイン), formerly Enterbrain, Inc., is a Japanese publisher and brand company of Kadokawa Future Publishing founded on January 30, 1987 as ASCII Film Co., Ltd.. Magazines published by Enterbrain are generally focused on video games and computer entertainment as well as video game and strategy guides. In addition, the company publishes a small selection of anime artbooks. Enterbrain is based in Tokyo, Japan, with a paid-in capital of 410 million yen. Enterbrain's current president is Hirokazu Hamamura.

Shūkan Famitsū and Gekkan Famitsū

Famicom Tsūshin initially focused on the Famicom platform, but later it featured multi-platform coverage. Famicom Tsūshin was renamed to Famitsū in 1995. Shūkan Famitsū is a weekly publication concentrating on video game news and reviews, and is published every Thursday with a circulation of 500,000 per issue. [1] Gekkan Famitsū is published monthly.

Necky the Fox

Famitsū magazine covers alternately feature pop idols or actresses on even-numbered issues and the Famitsū mascot, Necky [lower-alpha 9] the Fox [9] in odd-numbered issues. [10] Year-end and special editions all feature Necky dressed as popular contemporary video game characters. Necky is the cartoon creation of artist Susumu Matsushita, and he takes the form of a costumed fox. [11] The costumes worn by Necky reflect current popular video games. Necky's name was chosen according to a reader poll, and it derives from a complex Japanese pun: "Necky" is actually the reverse of the Japanese word for fox, キツネ, [lower-alpha 10] and his original connection to Famicom Tsūshin is intended to evoke the bark of the fox, the Japanese onomatopoeia of which is コンコン [lower-alpha 11] . [12] Necky makes a cameo appearance in Super Mario Maker . [13]

Special topic Famitsūs

Famitsū publishes other magazines dedicated to particular consoles. Currently in circulation are:

Former special topics

Famitsū spin-offs that are no longer in circulation include:


Video games are graded in Famitsū via a "Cross Review" in which a panel of four video game reviewers each give a score from 0 to 10 (with ten indicating the best game). The scores of the four reviewers are then added up for a maximum possible score of 40. From the twenty-four games awarded with a perfect score as of 2017, three are for the Nintendo DS and five are for the Wii. The PlayStation 3 also has five games with a perfect score and the Xbox 360 has four, with both consoles having four titles in common. The others are for different platforms with only one title each. Franchises with multiple perfect score winners include The Legend of Zelda with four titles, Metal Gear with three titles, and Final Fantasy with two titles. The most recent game to receive a perfect score is Dragon Quest XI .

As of 2016, all but two games with perfect scores are from Japanese companies, nine being published/developed by Nintendo, four by Square Enix, three by Sega, three by Konami and one by Capcom. As of 2016, the only two completely foreign games to achieve a perfect score are The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim by Bethesda Softworks and Grand Theft Auto V , from Rockstar Games. Other foreign games that have achieved near-perfect scores are L.A. Noire , Red Dead Redemption , Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto IV – all four of which came from Rockstar Games; Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 , Call of Duty: Black Ops , and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 – all from Activision, although published by Square Enix in Japan; and Gears of War 3 from Epic Games. ( Kingdom Hearts II is a joint effort between Square Enix and Disney Interactive Studios.)


Famitsu administers the Famitsu awards. Video games receive a number of different awards in categories like Innovation, Biggest Hit, Rookie Award, Highest Quality, etc. One or two "Game of the Year" awards are granted as the top prize. Top prize winners are determined by a combination of critical and fan review scores as well as sales figures.

Relationship with other magazines

UK trade magazine MCV and Famitsu have an exclusive partnership which sees news and content from each magazine appear in the other. [14]

See also


  1. Japanese:ファミ通 Hepburn:Famitsū ?
  2. Japanese:週刊ファミ通 ? , lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
  3. Japanese:ファミコン通信 ? , officially translated as Famicom Journal
  4. Japanese:ファミコン通信 ? , lit. "Famicom News"
  5. Japanese:週刊ファミコン通信 ? , lit. "Weekly Famicom News"
  6. Japanese:月刊ファミコン通信 ? , lit. "Monthly Famicom News"
  7. Japanese:週刊ファミ通 ? , lit. "Weekly Famitsū"
  8. Japanese:月刊ファミ通 ?
  9. Japanese:ネッキー Hepburn:Nekkī ?
  10. Japanese:kitsune ?
  11. Japanese:"kon kon" ?
  12. Japanese:エンタミクス ?
  13. Japanese:オトナファミ ?
  14. Japanese:ファミ通コネクト!オン ?
  15. Japanese:ファミ通DS+Wii ?
  16. Japanese:ファミ通GREE ?
  17. Japanese:ファミ通Mobage ?
  18. Japanese:ファミ通ブロス ?
  19. Japanese:ファミコミ ?
  20. Japanese:ファミ通DC ?
  21. Japanese:ファミ通Sister ?
  22. Japanese:サテラビュー通信 ?
  23. Japanese:バーチャルボーイ通信 ?
  24. Japanese:ファミ通PS ?
  25. Japanese:ファミ通WaveDVD ?
  26. Japanese:ファミ通Xbox ?

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